ADMISSIONS & GUILT
Jack pulled up outside Sam’s apartment building, put his jeep in park and pulled the keys from the ignition with a sigh. Damn he was tired. Of course working his ass off in a Naquadah mine for two weeks with little rest and less food had a way of wearing a man out.
He got out of his vehicle, a grimace crossed his face as a multitude of muscles screamed their own protest of the mistreatment they suffered in the last two weeks.
After SG-1 staggered home...well Teal’c never staggered and Daniel...Daniel was so damned euphoric he fairly danced down the ramp...OK so he and Carter staggered through the gate... Dr. Frasier sent him and Carter home for 48 hours medical downtime.
Those 48 hours were up two hours ago. As he, Teal’c and Daniel sat down with General Hammond for their belated debriefing, Carter was conspicuously absent. Jack made some excuse about car trouble, but he could tell by the look on the general’s face he wasn’t buying it, in fact Jack thought he saw some real concern in Hammond’s eyes.
In the past 18 months she’d never missed a briefing, heck she was usually early. After the tense meeting was over, the general suggested Jack give the captain a call, check on her reluctant car.
At first Jack was annoyed at having to baby-sit yet another team member. It was bad enough Daniel kept running off touching things or trying to save damsels in distress but now his captain decided coming to work was optional.
That annoyance faded when Teal’c pulled him aside and told him what happened while Jack was off having his little audience with Daniel. Jack knew the young woman was having a rough time, her exhaustion causing memory flashbacks of Jolinar’s...how a dead alien was talking to her, Jack couldn’t even figure out. He also knew she’d been near the end of her rope down in that mine, Jack just hadn’t known how near the end.
When Teal’c told him she actually collapsed once, and almost passed out a couple more times, Jack’s pique turned to real concern. He tried to call her twice but kept getting her machine. Either she’d turned the phone off, or she couldn’t answer it.
That ominous thought sent Jack tearing down the highway.
He walked up to her apartment, stuck the key he’d got from Janet in the lock and opened the door.
The blinds were drawn and the rooms were dim and quiet. Jack closed the door behind himself and stood in the entryway waiting for his eyes to adjust.
“Carter,” he called out. Surprising an Air Force Captain who probably kept a gun beside the bed probably wasn’t the smartest thing he could do. Receiving no response, Jack carefully walked into the living room. He opened the blinds, flooding the room with midday sunlight.
“Dammit,” he muttered, rescuing the mail and going into the small kitchen to get a rag to wipe up the spill. A partial quart of milk stood on the counter. Jack instinctively took off the cap and sniffed the milk. “Whoa.” He jerked his face away from the sour smell and poured the spoiled milk down the drain.
Now he knew something was definitely wrong. He could see Daniel being so totally absent minded, but not his favorite astrophysicist. Jack left the kitchen and headed toward the back of the apartment, a tiny part of him wishing he had his gun.
Going down the carpeted hall Jack stepped over her fatigue jacket, one sock, then the other. Jack cautiously stepped up to the bedroom door, hesitating a bit. “Carter?” he said again, not wanting to violate her privacy unnecessarily. Silence.
Jack took a deep breath and slowly pushed the door open. He saw Sam Carter sprawled on her stomach in her bed. Jack stepped over the fatigue pants lying on the floor and approached the bed. “Sam?” He reached out, pushing aside the collar of her T-shirt, a tiny part of him cringing as he felt for a pulse.
Course she’d probably just bite him again. Halleluia, there it was, nice and strong. She didn’t even stir. Jack put his hand on her shoulder and gave her a gentle shake. “Carter?”
“Come on Carter, wake up.”
“G’way,” she mumbled, turning her head away from him.
“Come on Sam, wakey, wakey.”
Jack shook her again. She responded by pulling the pillow over her head. Jack sighed. OK, time for the big guns.
He left the bedroom and went back to the kitchen. Having Daniel for a roommate for a while taught him a few ways to wake a heavy sleeper. Usually once Danny came off his caffeine high he would sleep for 10-12 hours every two or three days. Jack swore the young man could bunk in the gateroom and not be disturbed. Hell, he’d probably sleep through the second coming.
Jack rummaged through the cabinets finding the coffee.
A few minutes later he carried a steaming mug into Sam’s bedroom and sat it down on the dresser. The young woman was still lying as he left her.
“Come on Captain, time to get up.” He saw her arms tighten on the pillow over her head. Jack reached out and yanked the pillow out of her arms. “Captain, wake the hell up!” he bellowed in his best command voice.
Sam jerked awake her eyes snapping open. “What?” She looked around taking in the sight of Colonel Jack O’Neill standing in her bedroom...wait a minute what was he doing in her bedroom?
“Colonel, what are you doing here?” She asked sleepily.
“Helping you with your car trouble,” confusion danced across her sleepy features.
“Here.” Jack picked up the cup of coffee, holding it out to her. She took it, rolling over so she was sitting up in the bed, pulling the covers up to her waist.
“You missed the debriefing. Car trouble was the first excuse I could think of.” Sam shook her head.
“Missed the briefing? We debrief on Wednesday.”
“This is Wednesday.” She shook her head again.
“No it’s Tuesday...I mean we got back yesterday.”
“Carter, we came back two days ago. Our 48 hour downtime was up 3 hours ago.”
“No I...I lost a whole day?” She asked incredulously as she took a sip of the coffee, grimacing at the taste. “I don’t put sugar in my coffee.”
“This time you do. I figure you’ve been asleep for almost 48 hours. Your blood sugar’s gotta be in the basement right about now.”
“I can’t believe I slept for 2 days,” she said raking her fingers through her short blond hair.
“I can. You’re exhausted.”
“Yeah but we were all tired.”
“No, not tired. Teal’c told me you collapsed in that mine while I was talking to Daniel.”
“I didn’t collapse,” she protested.
“Pass out,” he pressed.
“I didn’t pass out.”
“That’s not what Teal’c said.”
“Teal’c exaggerates. ”Jack shot her a look.
“Riiiight...Why the hell didn’t you tell me?”
Sam sighed. “What difference would it have made?” she asked tiredly.
“What difference?...Carter, you should be in the infirmary right now. No healthy person sleeps for 2 days straight. Dammit Sam, you know how close you came to dying down there? If Teal’c hadn’t have been able to wake you up those fake Jaffa woulda hauled you off and tossed you in the pit with the rest of the dead.”
“Well that didn’t happen.”
“It could have.”
“I could have been killed on Abydos, or in that cell on Chulak, Hathor could have killed me, lord knows she tried hard enough...hell Apophis did. I could have frozen in Antarctica. YOU were going to blow me up on Klorel’s ship. And let’s not forget that...that ashrak trying to fry my brain from the inside out. Almost dying has become a weekly occurrence,” she said in an uncharacteristic display of annoyance that caught Jack by surprise.
“Don’t Carter me. I didn’t tell you because I knew you’d fly off the handle just like you are now.”
“I don’t fly off the handle,” Jack protested.
“Bullshit. You throw a temper tantrum to rival most kids I know. You’ve been stomping around, pitching a fit ever since Daniel got hurt in that rockfall.”
“I was pitching a fit as you call it because the little bastard nearly got us killed.”
“It wasn’t his fault.”
Jack shook his head emphatically. “Don’t...don’t excuse him. He sat up on that throne, living in the lap of luxury while you...we almost died.”
“You don’t know what happened...”
“I know he abandoned us.”
“If I know Daniel he was looking for a diplomatic solution.”
“Oh yeah, he was being real “diplomatic” with her,” Jack sneered.
“The same way you were “diplomatic” with Kynthia?” She sneered back.
“That wasn’t the same.”
“How was it different?” She challenged
“The rest of you were in no danger...”
“And did you look in your crystal ball before you pulled a Captain Kirk with the nice obliging alien woman? Did you just KNOW Phelops wouldn’t come back? Did you even stop to THINK any of us could be in any danger? Those little machines almost got loose in the SGC. We could have contaminated the whole mountain. Did you think about that... noooo,” she said gesturing with her half full mug, “It was a little song and dance number before you hit the sack with her.”
“And the goo-goo eyes you had for Narim...didn’t mean a thing?”
“They meant there was one person in the universe who accepted me for who I am without trying to change me. One person who didn’t tolerate me just because I’m a general’s daughter or try to suck up to me for the same reason. I think he was the first truly honest person I’ve met in a while. AND I DIDN’T SLEEP WITH HIM!” she yelled.
She raked her hand through her hair again and took a deep breath. “Look we all make mistakes. Daniel made a big one. If I told you how I was feeling you would be even angrier with him. If my...Jolinar’s memories are right he’s going to need help.”
“What kind of help?” Jack sat on the edge of the bed.
“I get the definite impression the sarcophagus is like a narcotic...and not being able to use it...”
“He’s going to withdraw.”
“Big time. And it’s going to be ugly. He’ll need us...all of us. Right now you hating him because of a “what if” would destroy him. I haven’t known Daniel as long as you have, but I know there isn’t a malicious bone in his body. He did the wrong thing, but I’ll bet it was for the right reasons.”
“I’ll try to keep that in mind. Right now, how are you, HONESTLY?”
Sam took a deep breath, “Sore,” she admitted holding up an arm covered with a multitude of small bruises and scrapes, much like Jack’s own arms and legs. “Tired, and I think I’m hungry.” She shot him a wan smile.
“Look, why don’t I call in, make up an excuse for the general, get you something to eat and you can go back to sleep,” Jack offered.
“Why don’t we go with the food part, then we’ll both go in. That Naquadah isn’t going to explain itself,” Sam countered.
Jack shot her a skeptical look. “And I have a perfectly comfortable bunk there. I can get some sleep and still be on hand if Daniel needs us. That way we won’t have to lie to the general. Besides, fresh air will do me a world of good.”
“OK,” Jack relented, “But no all nighters, don’t push yourself or I’ll have a little talk with Frasier.” Jack got off the bed. “You got any real food around here?”
“Nothing that isn’t frozen or canned,” she admitted sheepishly.
“Then we’ll stop and get lunch on the way in.” Jack got up to leave the room.
“I’m just going to grab a quick shower,” she said, carefully swinging her legs over the edge of the bed.
“Ten minutes, and don’t lock the door.”
“I don’t want you passing out and drowning. Ten minutes or I come in after you,” he tossed over his shoulder.
Sam shot him back a saucy look.
“OK, but then you’re buying lunch,” she shot back.